GIY Cannabis, Pt. I — Rules & Etiquette

Growing your own pot might sound like a daunting task to undertake, but the truth is that it’s actually a lot more manageable than people make it out to be. Why else would we call it weed? If you’re thinking about making the foray into grow-it-yourself cannabis (GIY), stay tuned for the next installments of this GIY cannabis series for tips and tricks re: gardening your own bud. Before we dive into that, though, here are some considerations that relate to rules and etiquette to get you started on the right path.

First and foremost, it helps to know the rules. According to state law, Oregon citizens are allowed to grow up to four cannabis plants per household. While the wording of the law has been criticized for its vagueness—Is it four plants in the flowering stage? Or just four plants in general?—it’s always a safe bet to take the law at face value. Our interpretation is that four plants means four plants, regardless of which stage they are in or how many people occupy the residence.

It’s also important to note that Oregon law does not eclipse federal law, which means that, technically speaking, you are not protected from the feds—especially if you live within 1,000 feet of a school. Of course, it is highly unlikely that an amateur home grower tending to four cannabis plants would ever be targeted by the highest levels of our country’s drug enforcement officers. Then again, things are whacky in our nation’s capital—i.e. everyone could definitely use a smoke sesh—and it never hurts to tread with caution in any legally complicated context.

In addition to federal regulations, you should also be mindful of what is and is not acceptable as per your rental agreement with your landlord. If your landlord has included a vaguely-worded section in the lease paperwork that prohibits illicit drugs, it would be helpful to engage him, her or them in a dialogue about what this means when applied to a state-sanctioned, federally-prohibited substance. This is one of those instances in which the idea of breaking rules now and asking for forgiveness later probably shouldn’t apply.

Now that we’ve covered the rules, let’s take a look at etiquette. What you choose to do in your home is your business, but as a member of your community—be that your household, neighborhood or city—you should always be respectful of those who might be adversely affected by your actions. Our best advice is to get ahead of any problems by putting on your empathy shoes.

Is your grow going to stink up a common space shared by you and your housemates? Talk to them about their preferences and take stock of backup grow areas just in case. Basements, attics, garages and closets are all great options—so long as everyone in your household is on board. Maybe hold off on that living room grow setup you’ve been scheming in your mind. Will your outdoor garden be visible and/or accessible to neighbors with children? Even if your neighbors are totally 420-friendly, you shouldn’t assume they’ll be cool with pot plants growing outside their offspring’s window. Maybe just don’t be that person who stirs the neighborhood pot (pun not intended) by putting your adult substance on display for all the kiddos to see.

Some may say that rules are made to be broken, but we think these are rules that everyone who cares about further legitimizing the legal cannabis market should adhere to. Be a good steward of responsible conduct in your community so we can keep blowing negative stereotypes about cannabis users out of the water. Remember when people used to say that smoking weed would make you violent? We’ve come a long way since those days, but we still have plenty of work ahead of us.

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